B/R Interview: Larry Fitzgerald on Being a Leader, His Legacy and Bruce Arians
Lenovo and The Onion have launched a weekly eight-part mockumentary-style video series titled the "Tough Season." Each "Tough Season" video spotlights Brad Blevins, a woeful fantasy football owner, and features appearances from some of the NFL's biggest stars.
Fitzgerald was friendly enough to sit down with Bleacher Report and chat about his connection with the campaign. Additionally, the All-Pro wideout dished on being a leader in the NFL, his good friend Kurt Warner and what it's like to play for first-year head coach Bruce Arians.
Bleacher Report: After first seeing the Lenovo mockumentary-style video series titled "Tough Season," what were your initial thoughts?
Larry Fitzgerald: I was a little nervous at first, because it was out of my element a little bit. It was cool to do. They really made it a lot of fun for us. The guys (Mason Crosby, Andrew Luck, Alfred Morris and Matt Forte) all had a good time with it and that's what it was all about.
B/R: Tell us why Brad Blevins and other fantasy owners did the right thing by drafting you in fantasy football?
LF: Well, you know what, you have to go with your gut. You have to pull for the guys that you pick. I feel good. I like our team, I like our offense and I like our quarterback. I think it's going to lead to plenty of opportunities. Really, I'm just looking forward to what we can do and getting more victories.
B/R: As a 10-year veteran, how has your leadership role in the locker room evolved over the years?
LF: I've definitely had to become more vocal being the oldest-tenured player on the team. You kinda just have to naturally gravitate into that position. Guys look to you when things are going well, and they look to you when things are going bad. Regardless, I have to go out there and make plays to get my team going in the right direction.
B/R: How are you handling being the Cardinals team leader at this stage in your career? Has it gotten easier over the years? Or has it been tough because your guys' record hasn't been where you wanted it to be the last couple of years?
LF: No, when you're voted a captain by your peers, you have to go out there and prepare to play no matter the good times or the bad times. That's part of being a leader—come to work everyday, give it your best and go out there on Sundays and play as hard as you can to put your team in a position to have success. That's my mind-set every single day when I step out onto the field.
B/R: I know you and quarterback Kurt Warner are close. What did Warner teach you that stays with you to this day?
LF: Just being a consistent person every single day. It helps you so much in your work life and your family life. I remember when Kurt had to deal with some adversity. He had just torn his knee up, his wife was in the hospital with a blood clot and his twins had just been born. That was a lot of stress for one person to deal with. Yet, every single day when he came to work, he was the exact same person.
That just shows what kind of man he was and how resilient he was. That's what I learned, to be the same person every single day and to hold myself accountable to the people that care about me.
B/R: Do you feel your legacy will change if you don't win a Super Bowl ring?
LF: I think it would change if I were able to win a Super Bowl ring. The key is getting to the playoffs. Once you get to the playoffs, anything is possible from that point on. You have to continue to fight and scratch every single week in practice to improve your chances.
B/R: From what you've seen, what factors convince you that head coach Bruce Arians can lead Arizona to the promised land?
LF: Coach really pushes guys on a daily basis; he makes it very tough on you. He wants to stress you and push you to the limits. But it's really a lot of fun to be challenged the way he challenges players. He's a lot of fun to be with in the building; he's always cracking jokes and having a good time with the guys. He keeps the atmosphere real light, but it's all football all the time. I really like that about him.
B/R: In Arians' vertical passing attack, do you anticipate spending more time in the slot? Against the Rams Week 1, 41 percent of your snaps were out of the slot.
LF: Yeah, you know, he definitely likes to utilize me inside a lot, but I will be outside the numbers as well. It all depends on the call. I will be moving around a lot. It just gives defenses more to think about, and it gives other guys opportunities to make plays as well. So I'm looking forward to a long season of great success on the field.
B/R: What are your thoughts on the progression of second-year wide receiver Michael Floyd and fourth-year wide receiver Andre Roberts? Both players looked mightily improved.
LF: Andre has really developed into a special player. He made some tough catches at key times, and he made some unbelievable third-down conversions for us on Sunday. In terms of Floyd, he knows how to go up and attack the ball at its highest point. He's going to be a real force to be reckoned with in the vertical passing game.
B/R: Which wide receivers do you enjoy watching the most?
LF: I watch tape on all the guys. I really enjoy watching all types of different players. Some guys in the slot like Danny Amendola. You know, guys who run great slot routes. Mike Wallace on the outside, speed guys—I try to pick little pieces from everybody's game to learn from.
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